Thank you so much for all of the great emails this week. I can't believe that you guys went and got Russian food. I hope that the Pelmini was tasty and the Bleanie was good. I got my companion to drink some Kvac. He almost threw it up. I got it on camera so that will be a fun one to watch when I get home. Also that is so crazy that Kace is going to have a baby this week. GO KACE!!! Also that General Conference is this week. Unforunately we don't get it until a week after. I don't know if I can wait a week. It is going to be tough.
This last week was a great week. Elder Riddle and I did alot of great work. We were able to find a new investigator, his name is Anatoli. We got to know him and understood what he believes. He said that he doesn't believe in God and that there is no way that God could communicate with us. We talked to him about how he could know if God really is there. He asked how and we told him that through prayer it is possible. We asked him to give a kneeling prayer and he said he would give it a try. That was probably one of the most spiritual prayer that I have ever heard. It was so great. His prayer was so simple but I could feel that our Heavenly Father was so happy to see him. It was a great meeting. We have a meeting set up with him this week so we will see if he did any of the commitments that we gave him.
Natalia is doing great. She went out of town though for a little bit. Before she left we talked to her about the Plan of Salvation. She was eating it all up. It was so awesome. I was able to go on splits with Assistants last week and Elder Christiansen came with me. She was so happy that we talked about the plan of salvation. Elder C and I had such a great meeting with her. I am so grateful for the chance to be able to teach Natalia. She is so great.
Lately I have been trying really hard to be able to have the Holy Ghost more with me. I am so grateful for this gift that was given to me when I was baptized. I am so thankful that it guides me and protects me from danger. I know that if we are worthy and if we truly desire the companionship we will be able to enjoy it in our lifes more. Missionary work cannot be done unless you have the Holy Ghost. I desire it so much becuase then I know that this work will move on. I am so grateful for being on a mission and having the oppurtunity to feel the Holy Ghost so much.
Alright so for my year mark celebration I went to McD's and got a Beef Ale Ruce. It is the Russian hamburger here. It is probably theee best burger in the world. I am so sad that they don't have it back in the states...what I am going to do. BTW I am getting one later today yay!!! No I didn't burn any shirts or pants. I don't have extra clothes to burn.
Weather- we haven't gotten any snow yet. We just keep getting a lot of rain. I am excited for the winter....
For studies I really enjoy reading the Book of Mormon in Russian on Sundays. I made a goal to start reading and studying in Russian at the New Year
Perm is pretty big. It is really spaced out. Yekaterinburg is a lot bigger than Perm I heard. I'm not sure how it is compared to Salt Lake.
I enjoy traveling on trains because I get to sleep. ha
President and Sister Rust are doing great. Unforunately I wont be able to have my whole mission with them. They go home in June I believe.
Want to throw a shout our to Chan. Thank you so much for the Package. I love the Starbursts and all the suckers. Thank you for the 10000 word book. I have already gotten to word 400. You are the greatest. Thanks.
Also Grandma Chris Happy Birthday!!! Love you.
Sorry I am kind of in a hurry today so all of the questions didnt get anwsered. Love you all
October 8, 2012
I love getting all the news about General Conference and a new baby. I don't think I have ever gotten so much news before. I feel like there is so much going on at home right now. Kace and Jordan CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! I am so in aww right now. I remember when I was in the city of Kurgan and I got the email that you were going to have a baby and now she has already come. Hooooly cowwwww. Kace is a Momma and Jordan is a Pappa and that's quite the toppa. I'm not quite sure what that means,but I am just so happy for you Kace and Jordan. Thanks for the pictures they are so great. She is the cutest little baby I have ever seen and I haven't even seen here in person. Gosh I'm excited. So Kace......could I be her Russian Godfather? Pretty please. Goodness gracious I am so happy for you guys. Everybody here in Library knows that you two have a baby. I thought I would tell the random Russian person next to me. He says in Russian Congratulations ha. I love you three :)
Also can you believe the age now for missionaries. That is so great. When I heard I couldn't believe my ears. I heard the news in Russian so at first I thought I didn't understand... nope I understood. That is so awesome. So many more missionaries, this is exactly what the world needs. I know that this decesion has come from the man upstairs, our Heavenly Father. He knows perefectly what to do in the most perfect time. I am so excited for this new change. The first thing that I thought of was Cameron and Garett. Holy cow you two are so close. I hope that I will be able to see you guys by the time I get home. I have a feeling that the Lord changed the age because He is in the need of you two. I am so excited for you two to prepare to serve a mission. Be expecting some letters from me in the future. I love you guys. Deep breaths Steph :)
So we get to watch General Conference on Saturay and Sunday this week. We are going to be having a baptism during one of the breaks. We are way excited for this weekend. I can't believe that this is my third GC on the mission. I can't wait for it. I feel like GC on the mission is like Christmas. Right now I'm waiting for Mom and Dad to wake up so we can finally open gifts ha. I don't think I can wait much longer.
Well the work is moving right along here in Perm. We are going to have a baptism for Natalia on the 20th. We are way excited for her. She came to church yesterday and loved it. She has made so much progress. I love missionary work so much. So last week we had quite the miracle. We were waiting at the church more a meeting but the person never showed up so we were about to head out but this random person came to the door and asked if we were having a activity. we told him that we weren't but that we could do a free tour of the church if he wanted. He said yes and we gave him a tour and then we asked him if we could meet with him and talk with him. He was down so we taught him about the Restoration and had a very spriritual lesson with him. It was so great. I am so grateful that the Lord is always looking out for others. He knows all of his Children by name and he new that this man needed to come to the church to have a free tour. Little simple things like that are just so awesome to experience as a missionary. I am so grateful that I can see miracles from my Father in Heaven. I know that he is there and that he loves each and everyone of us. I know that he listens to us and really does want us to communicate to him. We just have to put our pride out of the way and humble ourselves a little. Then we will hear his still small voice. This I promise.
Thank you all for the emails. I love you so much. Thanks for all of the support and love from back home. I know that here in Russia is where the Lords focus is. He needs more missionaries in his vineyard and that is why the age has changed. I know that the Lord loves every child of his. I am so thankful for the oppurtunity to be able to serve here in Russia. I am so grateful to be a participater in the literal Gathering of Israel. This is what the Lord wants and we will obey. I am so grateful for the oppurtunity to listen to the prophets voice in a couple of days. I cherish his words because they are literally God's words. He knows the will of God and he leads us perfectly. President Thomas S. Monson is the prophet of God, just like Moses was and Joseph Smith. We are to follow the prophet so we don't go astray. Let's heed the words of those who lead and love us especially our dear prophet, President Monson. Once again thank you all for the love and support.
October 15, 2012
Sorry for the email that didn't make it home. I feel bad because it was a great email. Sorry that you had to wait for two weeks. Just look at it this way, you can have two emails this week. Love you.
Well this last week was a miracle week for Elder Riddle and I. Our investigator Natalia is progressing so fast. She is ready for baptism on Saturday. She came to all of the sessions of General Conf and loved them. We met with her almost everyday last week. She has the strongest faith ever. It is so awesome to see her progress. This is probably one of the greatest things to experience as a missionary. I know that the Lord is working very hard with Natalia right now. You ask why her? Because she is showing forth that faith that Heveanly Father needs from a person to give them an anwser. We had many great lessons with her last week and I would like to share two of them with you. These are from my journal...
1. Today we met with Natalia at the church. We couldn't find a member on the lesson so we went in solo. We decided to watch Finding Faith in Christ with her. (one of the greatest church movies ever produced) We wanted to focus on the example of Christ and how He fulfilled all rightousness. After the movie there was such a special spirit in the room. Elder Riddle and I decided to jump on it. We talked about baptism and the baptism of Christ. She voiced her concerns and told us that she was scared what her family would think. I thought really hard on what I should say to her. The prompting came to have her give a kneeling prayer. So I followed the prompting and asked her if we could kneel and pray and ask Heveanly Father about this. She said that is a great idea. We knelt and sat for about five minutes. Complete silence. Elder Riddle and I were praying silently that she would recieve an anwser. After dead silence for awhile I asked her if she would pray and ask our Father in Heaven for help. She then gave the most simple, precious prayer taht I have ever heard. My heart was softened and the spirit was totally there. After her prayer we still kneeled in silence. After 3 of 5 min we stood and bore powerful testimony to her. I then asked her if she had recieved an anwser. She looked at me and said yes. Then she said, "Elder Flitton maybe I could get baptized sooner". I knew that was going to come out. How could it not. That room was like a steam room. But instead of steam it was the Holy Ghost. I love the power of prayer. We really can receive anwsers to our prayers. Today was a day that the Lord worked with Natalia very strong.
2. Tonight we met with Natalia at her house with the Pococks. We were going to talk about her baptism on Saturday. We talked about how she could choose certain people to participate in her service and that we need to set up some more meetings before saturday. We then just taught her about the advantages of being a member of the church. We told her that this week Satan is going to do everything in his power so that she doesn't enter the waters. We told her that we would be there at every step and that she needs to read and pray every day. She was so happy that we were preparing her baptism and that it is really going down. The Pococks are so awesome. They are the greatest senior couple in the world. I love them. After the lesson we then felt prompted to offer her a blessing. Eldre Riddle, Elder Pocock and I layed our hands on her head and gave her a blessing. As I gave the blessing I felt the need to bless her family. I felt the need to say "Natalia as you become a member of this church your family will see your example. They will want to have what you have. They might not see it now but in the future they will". Whenever I give a blessing in Russian it is so sacred to me. I share this only becuase I feel like I should. I know that all of us have loved ones that are very dear to us. I know that as we are examples to them and love and serve them they will notice something special about us. I know that we can influence people to do good. I love the oppurtunity to be an example everyday here in Perm Russia.
I wanted to share these experiences with you so that you know that the Lord is All-loving. Those who come unto him really do recieve his glory. I know that prayer actually works. It isn't rocket science. If we pray to our Father in the name of His son he will hear us. He will anwser us if we will but just listen and act. I know that this is true because I have seen with my own eyes. I have seen it with Natalia, with Vera, with Ivan and Igor. Prayer is for all of us so take the chance to make prayer a daily thing. I promise that God will bless us if we do so.
So I got to watch General Conference this weekend. Oh my goodness it was the best. It was so great to hear our leaders speak to us. I love President Monson so much. Aren't we so fortunate to have a man like him lead this church. He really is called of God, how can you disagree with that. Some of my favorite talks were President Monsons in Priesthood, President Eyering in Priesthood, Elder Nelsons... Just ask the missionaries, they can help you. I loved Elder Hollands talk also. I love watching GC on the mission. It is such a booster.
Well it is time for me to go. I hope that this email makes it home. THanks for your patience and love. This week is going to be a great week. Please pray for Natalia as she prepares for her baptism. Thanks again for everything. love you
October 22, 2012
Well another week has come and gone. This last week has flown by so fast. I can't believe that this month is almost over. Here in Perm we got our first storm of snow. It didn't stick or anything but it was falling. This week is supposed to be frosty so it is time to pull out the gloves and hat. It is weird to see the weather change. Thinking aobut summer is not possible. I don't even remember summer ha. Feels like I blinked and summer was over. Winter is now here in Perm and is staying. So enjoy that nice weather back home. Grandpa enjoy the golf course while you can.
We had a baptism here in Perm last week. Actually we had two of them!!! Our investigator Natalia was baptized!. We had a great baptism service for her on Saturday. She was really nervous to be baptized. We had a good amount of people come to the service. Elder Riddle baptized her. I was so excited to see him experience that. It was so great to see her smile after she came up out of the water. After the service I asked her how she felt. She said that she felt so clean and that the feeling inside of her was to hard to explain. Elder Riddle and I are so happy for Natalia. We are so blessed to be instruments in the Lord's hands. On Sunday she was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It was a great day yesterday for her. I have been so blessed to be able to work with Natalia and to build a friendship with her. This decesion is going to change her life dramatically. She has 5 kids and 4 of them live in her apartment with their families. She is such an inspiriation to me. I know that the Lord has been preparing her for quite a while.
Lately I have been thinking a lot about how the Lord works in his time and not in our time. As a missionary this has been a hard concept to grasp. As a missionary I tend to find myself wanting things how I want them done. I find my self teaching people how I understand. Sometimes I wonder "why cant this happen", or "why is that taking so long" and why does it sometimes feel like nothing goes your way. For example when sometimes we are on the street at night when it is 0c and no one will give us the time or day. Or with a investigator that wont do the things that you ask them to do. Sometimes I look up at the sky and ask "why God". Then is when I get the anwser that I need to remember whose time I'm on. It isn't Keaton's time, it's the Lord's time. At first it isn't easy to accept that but after time youi come to understand that there are more things in this world that are important and the Lord knows perfectly when and how they are going to work out. I have prayed long and hard to be able to accept and to submit my will to the Lord's will. I know that the Heavenly Father sees the whole grand scheme of things. He knows perfectly. Maybe we should just trust him and not worry about ourselves. Put your life in the Lord's hands and see him mold it perfectly. Let Him work miracles in our lives. I know He will.
Also I just want to talk a little about obedience (grandma this is for you :)) As a missionary we are expected to live the higher law that Christ taught. We are expected to read the hand book everyday and to live by the guidelines. But the handbook doesn't list everything we need to follow. Therefore it creates gray spaces. We have the guidelines which give us black and white but it is when we make excuses that we create the gray. I think obedience is when we don't make those gray spaces in our lives. We remember the higher law that our Saviour taught. It is when that phrase kicks in WHAT WOULD CHRIST DO? It is when we are alone and have the opportunity to choose good or evil. Obedience is when we try our best to follow Christ. The talk comes in mind by Elder Neil A. Anderson, "What thinks Christ of me". No one is perfect but we can strive to be perfect like our Savior. That is obedience to me. Obedience brings forth the blessings of Heaven!
Thank you family for all of your emails. I love you so much. I hope that this week is great for you. Know that I love you very much and that you are constanly in my prayers. Your love and prayers are felt here in Perm Russia. I love you.
October 29, 2012
The start of a new week. Last week was a very eventful week for Elder Riddle and I. We have been working with an investigator of ours, his name is Calvin. He is from Nigeria just like all of the other black people here in Perm. Calvin is awesome! We have been working really hard with him in understanding the Book of Mormon. He really wants to understand why we have the book and why is it needed. What better anwser for him then in the introduction of the Book of Mormon. This morning I took a look at it again and thought to myself. This introduction is perfect. Everything that needs to be known is right there in the Introduction. If someone wants to know what this book is just read the intro. Who is Mormon... Read the introduction. What I like about it is when you get done reading it, you want to so bad to start reading the Book of Mormon from front to cover. Calvin is doing alright. He is just so hard to meet with. We haven't been able to sit down with him because he is so busy all of the time. We aren't giving up.
Elder Riddle and I found a new investigator last week. Her name is Alla. We met her at KFC and she speaks perfect English. She is one of those people that is just always smiling. Everytime we see her she has the biggest smile. She is so funny. She has a lot of different views on God and different things but as we have taught her she is slowy starting to understand. We had a meeting with her on Friday at a restaurant. We were going to talk about the Gospel of Jesus Christ but we had the impresion to teach the Plan of Salvation. We told her abuot the creation and how God is our Heavenly Father and that we are all His children. We talked about how in this life we have been given the gift of Agency. She agreed with us and said that the freedom of choice is one of the greatest gifts. We had an awesome lesson with her. I can tell that the Lord has been preparing Alla for this. She has so many ideas that are so in line with what we believe and teach. I am so grateful for the Holy Ghost. Without the Spirit we missionaries cant be successful. If people don't feel the Spirit then conversion is a lot harder. I am so thankful that I have been given the Gift of the Holy Ghost.
Lately I have been reading in Jacob. I just have happened to stumble upon Jacob 5. Now when you look at Jacob and see that this chapter is about 75 verses usually you just skim through it. Atleast that is waht I do. But this time I decided to do a full out study on it. I am going to say that Jacob 5 is now one of my favorites. I would encourage you all to read it and take the time to look up the footnotes and everything. It is a treasure waiting to be found. If you have already done it Congratulations!! Also in my scripture study I have made the goal to read the whole bible by the end of my mission. Right now I am in Joshua. Can I just say that there are so many prescious truths in the Old Testament. It is like reading a really good book, you can't put it down. I have grown so much to love the Old Testament. I love the scriptures so much. It is so fun to picture yourself in the story. To apply the scriptures to your life. It is awesome. I amso thankful for the Scriptures.
This week Elder Riddle and I will be going to Yekaterinburg for training at Presidents. We are way excited. We will be getting on a train tomorrow. I always love going to Presidents house. I also love having the chance to sleep on the train ha. Sorry there isn't that much to write about this week. Thank you all for all of your emails and letters. I love them so much.
PS Alright I have been thinking long and hard about this. For Christmas packages would it be ok if you just put money in my account? I feel that it would be a lot better becuse then you don't have to spend so much extra money on shipping. And plus I can buy cool souvenirs to bring back home. Tell me what you think.. this is for the whole family.
Also I need some money in my account so I can buy some gloves. For some reason I can't find my old ones. I think I left them in my old apartment. So if I could get some mula in the account that would be fandiddlytastic! Love you.